Who is Johny Panis?

Four years ago, we didn’t know the answer to that question either. However, several sightings of a pigeon named Mia, found in some pedigrees from Dirk Van Den Bulck, piqued our interest. After a conversation with Sheldon Leonard (F.B.I Pigeons) in 2020, Mark discovered that Dirk and Johny had done some co-op breeding.
Mark discussed the possibility of acquiring birds from the best breeders with Folmer, and through Folmer’s Instagram connection (Folmer is a bit of an Instagrammer with almost 20-000 followers) with Panis, a deal was struck. Although the first round was unavailable as the Fam. Herbots had ordered it, we managed to secure half a round  16 youngsters at 35 days old. Later on we found out, that Flanders had signed a contract with Johny, so we was very lucky to get this last round, and with the subsequent move of the Witte Drik and 019 to Ireland, we are confident that history will be made with Panis birds worldwide.

Now, 2½ years later, our investment in Panis birds has proven worthwhile. Among several exceptional birds, the standout is Queen of Darkness, bred and raced by our friend Lasse Rasmussen. Achieving 6×1 as a yearling, she boasts an impressive record, including 1 Olympic bird in Maastricht 2024 and being named the world’s best pigeon yearling in Denmark for 2023, as well as earning distinctions in PP Magazine Sprint.  As 1 national ace sprint 2023 yearlings(2 overall)


This journey has not only yielded outstanding pigeons but also forged a meaningful friendship. In the fall of 2023, we exchanged birds with Johny Panis, exemplifying how pigeon sport connects enthusiasts from different countries. For us, the camaraderie is as essential as the racing and breeding aspects—a hobby that brings together like-minded individuals to discuss our shared passion for racing pigeons.


For a more in-depth understanding of Johny Panis and his contributions to the pigeon racing world, we invite you to read an article by the Herbots family titled “Johny Panis, Herentals, a well-kept ‘short distance – secret ‘from the Kempen!” published on April 20, 2017.


Johny Panis: A Short Distance Racing Enthusiast from the Kempen


Johny Panis, hailing from the Kempen region in Antwerp, possesses a serious Limburg accent, rooted in Diepenbeek, Limburg. The Panis family name is well-known in the area, with Father Louis Panis and brother Ludo Panis achieving high rankings in contemporary pigeon racing. Despite their modest demeanor, the Panis brothers, upon closer inspection of their pigeons and results, deserve recognition for their breeding prowess.


Established in Herentals since 1997, Johny Panis has excelled as a short-distance racer, specializing in Quievrain. Over the past four years, he expanded his racing distances to include middle-distance races, reaching up to 365km. In 2017, he even set his sights on Bourges with his entire team.


Balancing pigeons, work, and family, Johny’s days are long, starting at a quarter past 5 in the morning and ending between 17h and 18h30 in the evening. His dedication to pigeon racing is supported by his wife Inge, who handles the daily care of the pigeons. Inge’s responsibilities include feeding, training, and managing the loft, allowing Johny to focus on work. Their son Lander contributes by creating pedigrees.


The loft houses 18 breeding couples, approximately 75 youngsters, and 15 widow cocks on total widowhood, alongside 15 widow hens. The breeding lines consist of 80% Panis blood from brother Ludo Panis and Rony Smeers, with the remaining 20% from Dirk Van den Bulck, Hok Verhestraeten, Eric Vercammen, Eddy Huyghens, and reinforcements from Vrancken-Berden, Kuringen.


The young pigeons undergo training up to 15km, followed by three club races in Vilvoorde. Quievrain races commence, and from the second race onwards, sliding doors are employed. In 2017, Johny experimented with the race schedule, sending his pigeons to National Bourges (480km) for the first time.


Regarding basketing, Johny devised a unique strategy due to racing total widowhood with a limited number of pigeons. Hens are basketed on Friday for middle-distance races and coupled to old cocks, preventing contact with young cocks destined for Quievrain on Sunday. This innovative approach ensures motivation and excitement during coupling.